Progress staff reports
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Veteran Jacksonville Police Det. Sgt. Daniel Franklin is receiving a huge accolade for his recent efforts to renovate and improve the city's target shooting range. This facility is being re-named in his honor.
On Thursday, colleagues with the Jacksonville Police Department held a small ceremony to dedicate the newly-revamped range to Franklin, sergeant of the city’s criminal investigation division, commander of the Jacksonville SWAT Team, and who – along with all the updates to the shooting range that have been made – also played the largest role in building the department’s first obstacle course.
During the past year, Franklin – with the assistance of several others – has transformed JPD’s training range from a barely-adequate facility into something of which the department can be very proud. All without using a single cent of city funds. (All the materials and labor needed were either donated or completed in-house.)
Franklin said he took on this project hoping that improving the range would lead to better training capabilities for JPD, which in turn would result in sharper officers.
"For a long time we made do with the range as it was, but it was getting to the point where people didn’t want to come out here and practice," Franklin said. "Well, practice is very important to what we do, so I decided that something needed to be done. By improving the equipment that they have available to work with, they can do more while they are down here, and they are more likely to come train.”
Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel agreed there is much practical importance in having training facilities that are of appropriate quality.
“New and improved training options translate directly into better performance in the field and better preparedness for the situations that we encounter on the streets," Daniel said. "The extra training our officers can now receive on this range may make the difference between an officer coming home or not one night."
Daniel said JPD’s upgraded shooting range is much better than those of most Jacksonville-sized communities. (2011 population 14,637.)
“Back when you came to me about starting a SWAT Team, I told you that if you were going to do it, you’d better do it right,” Daniel said to Franklin at Thursday’s dedication ceremony. “Well, you ‘do it right’ in everything you do – including this. What you have done here is far-and-above what was expected of you, and we wanted to dedicate this place in your honor to show how much we appreciate all that you do for this city and this department.”
JPD Detective Javier Guerra said for years, this range was nothing more than a berm, an awning and some holes in the ground where one could put one's pegs so that a target would stand up.
“We now have turning targets, reactive steel targets, a dueling tree and a rifle gong for long-range shooting," Guerra said. "And it has practically all been done through Daniel’s blood, sweat and tears.”